George Zimmerman, the defendant in the Trayvon Martin murder case, was widely expected to claim immunity under Florida's 'stand your ground' law. The defense's calculations have changed.
The Trayvon Martin case may have brought renewed focus on new "stand your ground" self-defense laws around the country, but the defendant in the case, George Zimmerman, said Tuesday he may not use the law in his own defense after all.
In a move that bewildered prosecutors, defense attorney Mark O'Mara cancelled an April 20 "stand your ground hearing," claiming a time crunch in preparing for a June 10 jury trial in the second-degree murder case. If able to provide clear and convincing evidence of legally standing one's ground against an attack, a defendant in Florida walks free and is granted immunity from civil liabilities.
Police released Mr. Zimmerman without charges after the volunteer neighborhood watchman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin just over a year ago. Sanford, Fla., police cited Florida's landmark 2005 “stand your ground law,” which nullifies any imperative for a potential crime victim to try to escape or retreat before using deadly force against an attacker.
Zimmerman says he thought Trayvon looked suspicious, and that the two fought after he approached the boy. Zimmerman says he didn't know Trayvon was a child.